3:04.

It was the night when the sky was dappled blue with clouds. I remember it had a pale pink glow towards the east like the clouds were ripped pieces of trace paper in front of a drying watercolour. And it was nights like these where I wished I owned a compass. So that in all the uncertainty, and for when you cannot see the moon or the stars, you will always know one thing for sure. Which way is north. And this also the night when I realised that it’s not as easy to crawl into your parents bed as it used to be. I’d been crying, making the duvet salty with every gasp for air that came rushing from my throat. And this was a rare night because I don’t cry much. The sadness is buried so deep into my bones that it cannot flow with the tears any more so I have no choice but to surrender to the empty void of bleeding lips and forked tongues. I could see the blade that was glinting in the dying light but, although every voice in my head was screaming for blood, I did not reach for it. And then my heartbeat was so loud in my ears that it overcame the whispers of my ghosts and all that was left was the stinging in my bloodshot eyes and the rhythmic beat of my heart against the cages of my ribs. So it was the night I counted to four with each quivering breath and tiptoed out of bed into my parents’ bedroom. I guess I should have known that it would not be like it was when I was little. The last time I’d done this was when I was six and had had a nightmare and was too scared to sleep again. I suppose the only difference, 10 years later, is that the nightmare is this life and that I am now more scared of the monsters in my head than the ones under my bed. This was the night that I stepped over my fathers’ cold feet until I was crouched in a space between him and our dog and, after swinging my lefts over the bedpost into the cool air, sat for a while, the dog sleepily nuzzling my hand with his warm nose. And that was the night when I realised that I could no longer fall asleep safe in the arms of my father and instead I would simply have to return to my own cell of white walls and shredded memories. And so I did and as I did so, I let the water drag my head into the current, leaving my consciousness with the waves.

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